Have Your Say in the Future Governance of Scotland
Some 11 years ago a small group of Scots decided to draft a ‘model’ written constitution for Scotland rather than just talk about the need for one. The Constitution for Scotland Project (CfS) has grown from that modest beginning. It advocates Scottish independence as a matter of community democracy. And it exists to encourage consultation on a draft constitution.
The project has moved on to its next stage. The consultation provides an opportunity for anyone who wishes to contribute to the future governance of Scotland. Scots are invited to contribute suggestions for amendments and additions to the basic draft. In this way, it will become a real People’s Constitution. So we will create it from the grassroots up.
On 30th August 200 years ago James ‘Purlie’ Wilson was hanged and beheaded on Glasgow Green for High Treason. A rebellious crowd of 20,000, held back by soldiers, watched him die. He gave an impassioned speech on the gallows. Did the Press report on what he said? No.
“Scotland Free or a Desart”
Wilson was a 63-year-old weaver. He had long been involved in organisations seeking such political reform as votes for all men and the independence of Scotland.
He had taken part in non-violent demonstrations and carried a banner proclaiming “Scotland Free or a Desart” (sic). And his home in Strathaven was a rendezvous point for those who wished to debate topical issues such as the abolition of slavery.
In the April of 1820, Government undercover agents persuaded Wilson to lead twenty-five men towards Cathkin to join in an uprising. However long before they arrived they thought the better of it and returned home without striking a blow. But it was already too late. They had now been identified. Soldiers burst into their homes and arrested them.
The Radical Wars involved thousands of people across Central Scotland. By the end eighty-eight men were charged with High Treason. Yet the events of those years are shrouded in secrecy to this day.
Tomorrow (Sunday 30th August) from about 2.45 there will be a Commemoration on Glasgow Green beside the Arch near the High Court – attended physically, with social distancing – to mark the bicentenary of Wilson’s execution at that exact time and place, 200 years ago.
Postscript by Marlene Halliday:
I’m sure there are honourable exceptions, but for many of us who went to school in Scotland in the 50s and 60s, the 1820 Rebellion was likely never mentioned in any history class. I am currently reading an account of the Rebellion by Murray Armstrong entitled ” The Fight for Scottish Democracy: Rebellion & Reform in 1820“.
You can listen to Murray talking on the subject here:
Greater Glasgow P4Indy Group invited Dave Thompson former MSP and now one of the founders of the Alliance for Independence (AFI) to contribute to a recent virtual meeting. Alan Logue, convenor of the group, stated at the outset that Pensioners for Indy are a non-party political organisation and do not endorse any party. The invitation to Dave is to better inform our members about the AFI initiative, its possible benefits and its possible risks.
Thirty nine people logged into the event. Dave spoke for about 20mins and there followed a lively Q&A sessions with points being made on both the pros and the cons of having List-Only Indy supporting parties.
The questions covered a lot of ground:
With SNP we know what we getting, they have a manifesto, same with the Greens. You say that AFI will not have a manifesto. That may be OK to get us to independence but those AFI MSPs will still be in Holyrood afterwards and we have no way of knowing what they would vote. Presumably individual MSPs will just vote according to their own views?
What are electoral Commission saying about accepting AFI
How likely is it that small parties are going to join in with you?
What if SNP don’t do as well as polls are saying, are we not in danger of making things worse rather than better?
If Greens don’t join AFI is it still viable?
How is it going to be funded? If people vote for you, won’t this be lauded by Unionists as SNP losing their power? And then be used it to make negotiations much more difficult?
Where SNP are likely to win a list seat, would you stand a candidate or step aside?
Coalitions are normal in a lot of countries, why on earth don’t you have a manifesto now that you can promote in phase two after independence?
D’Hondt system works well in producing a parliament which reflects how we vote. If this initiative ends up with a less proportional parliament is that really a good thing? Some people are concerned with the ethics of that. And wouldn’t a less proportional result it be used to argue against the legitimacy of the parliament?
There is no certainty that SNP will get the majority of the seats. As happened in 2016 when SNP got fewer votes. Why risk that again? Is it not a dangerous thing to do?
Julia Laurie, co-convenor of Pensioners for Independence Edinburgh and Lothians, writes:
The following recording is from our meeting held on Tuesday the 28th July. Some time ago, the Greater Glasgow P4Indy invited me to one of their meetings when Bob Ingram of A Constitution for Scotland was speaking. I found it wonderful listening to Bob, and my reaction was almost visceral.
I have read some of the Draft Constitution written by Professor Mark McNaught, of the University of Rennes. It is very good. But it was not until I heard Bob speaking that I realised how important it is that a Scottish Constitution should be written by the people for the people.
I contacted Bob, and was delighted when he agreed to talk to our group, the following recording is the outcome. Before listening, I urge you to read the Constitution Summary.
I really hope you have enjoyed Bob’s talk as much as I did. I have now heard it 3 times, and it affects me the same way every time. As you will have heard Bob say, they started with 22 people 11 years ago, and now they are ready to launch their Constitution.
Have a look at their web site Constitution for Scotland . If you can donate, no matter how small the amount, it will enable them to launch the Constitution. As a well-known supermarket says “every little helps” or as we might prefer to say “Mony a Mickle Maks a Muckle”.
I believe this constitution is vitally important, please spread knowledge of its existence to all your friends, colleagues, and any other groups you are part of, and remember political parties come and go, but a country’s constitution is forever.
It’s been four months since Glasgow P4Indy folk have done any street campaigning. We’ve had online meetings. We’ve had some really good speakers. And we’ve had more people coming to the line meetings than come to our usual monthly meetings in Glasgow city centre.
That all changed a day or so ago ….
Two of our group, Sheena Stephens and Mary McCabe, checked the coronavirus advice (and the weather forecast) and decided that it was OK to get outside and set up some of of our new banners. They tied them to the railings at Alexandra Park. And they set up a wee table with some leaflets. Mary and Sheena kept to the two metre distancing between themselves and any interested passers-by. But that still let them have some good conversations about where Scotland is now with respect to independence. Since then Sheena and Anna have taken a couple of the banners out to Milngavie and restarted our campaigning there – thanks, you two!
I set up a zoom meeting with Mary and Sheena so that I could ask them more about where the banners came from and how the outing went. Val Gauld, another Glasgow P4Indy member, joined us.
You can listen here. Just a heads up, Mary’s audio was playing up. I had to edit some of it out and insert me saying what she’d said. 🥴 We’ll need to get that sorted for next time.
One of our group put the photos on Twitter and on the P4Indy Facebook page. Now we learn that over 14,000 people have seen the tweet. Good to know that people are picking up on P4Indy activism and also that there seems to be an appetite to get out on the streets again. In a safe way, of course.
You can find out more about Grassroots Oban’s Banner Library And here are some of the banner designs in their collection. Use the < and > arrows to move through the slides or click on the thumbnails: